Capricornia Correctional Centre.
Capricornia Correctional Centre. FILE

Prisoner found dead with needle hanging from his arm

DETAILS about how drugs were smuggled into Rockhampton's prison in soft drink cans were revealed during a coronial investigation into a prisoner's fatal drug overdose.

Michael Wayne Blutcher was serving a two-year jail sentence when he was found dead in his room at Capricornia Correctional Centre in September 2013 - about a month before he was due to be released.

He had a calendar in his room, counting down the days until his release, when he intended to go to Mackay to go fishing.

Earlier this month, Queensland Coroner Terry Ryan delivered his findings following an inquest and said the 31-year-old man, who had a criminal history dating back to when he was a child in Rockhampton, had overdosed on fentanyl, a highly potent painkiller.

Mr Blutcher was supposed to share his drugs with two other men. One of the men injected it but the third decided not to, and Mr Blutcher injected this man's share.

Mr Blutcher was found unconscious on his bed with the needle still in his arm and a lethal amount of the drug in his system.

Mr Ryan said other prisoners who gave evidence at the inquest said the drugs were coming into the jail via soft drink cans that were thrown over the external perimeter fence.

Another inmate said the cans that had been dropped off weekly for about two months usually contained oxycontin or morphine with marijuana.

Mr Blutcher was sentenced to two years jail at Rockhampton Magistrates Court in February 2013 for a driving and burglary offence.

He was living at a low security facility known as The Farm when he died.

In his findings, Mr Ryan said it was unclear who supplied the cans that were dropped off in an unsecured area accessible to the public.

Since Mr Blutcher's death, a new electric fence has been installed. The fence also has sensors on it.

Mr Ryan said he accepted that the correctional centre had already requested improvements be made to CCTV surveillance and lighting.

Mr Ryan also said there had been an increase in deaths caused by the misuse of prescription drugs.

He said there was a small margin between a therapeutic dose and toxic dose of fentanyl and that it was 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. - ARM NEWSDESK

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